On Oct. 11, 2011, The EQ Alert Guy (EQ) landed at San Francisco International Airport on his way to what was about to become the world’s very first official “Quake Chase.” Since the day of the Northridge Quake, EQ had been investigating exactly what causes earthquakes and when Oct. 2011 came around, he knew he had Northern California narrowed down very closely. When he incorporated the fact that the night of Oct. 12 would have a full moon, he immediately bought a ticket to Frisco and embarked on this new field of quake chasing.
Immediately upon landing in San Francisco, EQ headed to the USGS Offices in Menlo Park where he hand-delivered a copy of an “Official Prediction” for a major earthquake to strike between Oregon and California before Oct. 21, 2011, to a person who is actually on the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council.
The next day, EQ headed to UC Berkeley to meet his old friend from seismology who he met years earlier when he was featured on the news for his earthquake early warning system. His friend was very happy to see EQ once again and demonstrated the very latest in the Earthquake Early Warning technology. Two earthquakes struck right at that instant, with the computer beeping and buzzing and announcing the number of minutes before the shock would be felt at Berkeley. On this occasion, they were small earthquakes, but served as a great illustration for how the system would eventually work all over California.
The earthquake that EQ was waiting for struck at 8:15 p.m. that night, Oct. 12, 2011, at Coos Bay, Oregon, and while it originally registered 5.9 Richters, it was downgraded to 5.3 Richters, but still ranks as among the biggest earthquakes ever to strike that California area. It officially made EQ the world’s very first successful quake chaser.
Only a few days after he flew out of San Francisco and headed for home, there were two more earthquakes, a 4.0 and a 4.2 Richters that struck Berkeley at or very near the campus at UC Berkeley, as well as a big 5.6 Richters earthquake at Oklahoma where EQ immediately headed for his next quake chase.
To follow EQ, visit www.earthquakealert.blogspot.com.
EQ, whose real name is Les Brown, has worked in TV and Motion Pictures in both Chicago and Hollywood, as well as the Carpenters Union in both Milwaukee and Los Angeles. Along the way, he decided to devote his life to his work with earthquakes. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his book, “My Earthquake Memoirs.”